To orient themselves on the use of two-way radios, the Bicol University (BU) East Campus Incident Command System (ICS) members organized the Restricted Land Mobile Training on March 8 at the BU College of Industrial Technology (BUCIT) Accreditation Room.
Earlier, the ICS purchased 10 units of two-way handheld radios that can be used during disasters or any untoward incident in the campus. The US Department of Labor defines ICS as “a standardized on-scene incident management concept designed specifically to allow responders to adopt an integrated organizational structure equal to the complexity and demands of any single incident or multiple incidents without being hindered by jurisdictional boundaries.”
The speaker in the half-day training session was Ariel H. Padilla, the regional director of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC). He talked about NTC and its functions, the radio laws and regulations in the Philippines, and the licensing procedure for radio equipment and personnel.
Padilla informed the participants that each of the 10 handheld units bought by the ICS are considered radio stations. He said that all the units must be licensed by the NTC, in compliance with pertinent laws. He added that all individuals operating the radio must be licensed as well.
The NTC director advised the ICS to have more people licensed aside from the person to whom a radio unit is assigned. This is because the assigned individual is not available 24 hours a day and might be indisposed when disaster strikes. Thus, more than one person is licensed to operate a device.
He explained the basic parts of a radio unit and the advantages of two-way radio over cellular telephony, one of which is faster communication. Another benefit of radio is that it is designed for one-to-many communication, while cellular phones can only handle one-to-one conversations.
For these reasons, Padilla added, emergency personnel—like police officers, firefighters, and security guards—use radio. It is also for the said reasons that the ICS procured radio sets.
He instructed the participants on how to use the handheld devices, emphasizing brief communication and proper handling of the device. He also discussed radio ethics; basic procedural words, like the use of “roger,” “over,” and “break”; and the phonetic alphabet, like “alpha,” “bravo,” “Charlie,” and others.
During his welcome remarks, BU College of Engineering Dean and East Campus Deputy Incident Commander Eduardo M. Loria thanked Padilla for gracing the event. He said that the ICS members are honored that the NTC director himself agreed to be the resource person in the activity.
Padilla responded that he really makes it a point to be the speaker in training sessions of government offices. This is because many agencies do not understand why they still need to have their equipment and personnel licensed by the NTC when they are used for government operations. He narrated his discovery that some radio units of the Bureau of Fire Protection are not licensed.
In his closing message, BUCIT Associate Dean and ICS Operations Officer Joseph Christopher P. Bustamante enumerated the next steps the East Campus will undertake to make the radio system operational. These include obtaining the appropriate licenses and testing the equipment.
The ICS is composed of representatives from BUCIT, College of Engineering, Institute of Architecture, Extension Service Center, and the Research and Development Center. (Gremil Alessandro Alcazar Naz)